2019-20 Awards

Commendation in Undergraduate Research

The Commendation in Undergraduate Research Award is given to students making valuable contributions to a faculty directed research project. The titles of their research projects and their advisors are listed.

And the award goes to...

Joseph Converse—Physics Major

"Time-resolved Spectroscopy with Diatomic Molecules"

Advisor, Dr. Burçin Bayram

Thomas Finn—Biological Physics, Biochemistry Major

"Applications of Sensing Multi-State Metabolic Behavior from Cellular Autofluorescence"

Advisor, Dr. Paul Urayama

Taylor Phillips—Biochemistry, Premedical Major

"Applications of Sensing Multi-State Metabolic Behavior from Cellular Autofluorescence"

Advisor, Dr. Paul Urayama

Scott Wenner—Physics Major

"Time-resolved Spectroscopy with Diatomic Molecules"

Advisor, Dr. Burçin Bayram

Skyler Wright—Engineering Physics Major

"Fast Quantum Control of Rb-87 Bose-Einstein Condensates"

Advisor, Dr. E. Carlo Samson

Outstanding Undergraduate Student Researcher

The Outstanding Undergraduate Student Researcher Award is presented to undergraduate students with outstanding promise as professional physicists. The award criteria are quality and productivity of research experiences as judged by the department's faculty.

And the award goes to...

li_thomasJianqiao (Thomas) Li is a double-major in physics and mathematics, with a GPA of 3.93. He has been working in the Bali research lab since Fall 2018 and was awarded an Undergraduate Summer Scholarship and a Dean’s Scholarship. He presented posters at a premier international conference – Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science, and at prestigious regional meetings – the Southwest Quantum Information and Technology workshop, and the Midwest Cold Atom Workshop. His work on producing slow light and Dicke narrowing in alkali vapor has yielded two manuscripts, which are currently in preparation for submission to refereed journals such as American Journal of Physics and Optics Letters. After graduation, Thomas will pursue an MS at Miami University in preparation for admission into a high-quality PhD program in physics.

Nominated by Dr. Samir Bali


reese_brandonBrandon Reese has been working in the Khan research lab since Fall 2018. His research project is titled, “Synthesis and Characterization of Selected Superconducting Intermetallic Materials.” Brandon's project involves the fabrication of the alloys by arc melting and annealing techniques and their characterization by magnetometry and transport measurements. Brandon presented his research titled, “Observation of Two Superconducting Phase Transitions in NbNi2-xCuxSn Heusler Alloys” at the OS/APS meeting in Flint Michigan in 2019. He won the best poster presentation award for his outstanding presentation. Brandon is also a first author in a manuscript under preparation.

Nominated by Dr. Mahmud Khan


rodriguez_andy

Andrew Rodriguez is a double major in biological physics and biochemistry. He has been involved in the Urayama lab since spring 2018 and was awarded the Undergraduate Research Award and Cancer Research Award (co-advised with Prof. Vishwanath) grants along with lab mate Max Kreider. Andy participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Yale University and is completing a university and departmental honors thesis. He has made multiple conference presentations and attended the international SPIE Photonics West conference, resulting in a publication with additional manuscripts under review. Andy is a department Physics Mentor, SPS vice president, and CAS College Ambassador. After graduating, Andy will pursue a PhD in biophysics at Yale University.

Nominated by Dr. Paul Urayama

Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher

The Outstanding Graduate Student Researcher Award is presented to graduate students with outstanding promise as professional physicists. The award is based on quality and productivity of research as evidenced by thesis research performance, cleverness and diligence applied to investigation, papers published, professional presentations, abstracts submitted, grades in graduate courses, and departmental participation.

And the award goes to...

poudyal_bibandhanBibandhan Poudyal is a second-year master student. He has been working in the group of Dr. Mirza since fall 2018 on problems related to theoretical quantum optics with applications in quantum information science. Currently, he is working on his master thesis, addressing the problem of routing single photons in quantum computing circuits. Since 2018 Bibandhan has given several oral and poster presentations at local and national level conferences. In particular, he presented his research at the Frontier of Optics & Laser Science conference in fall 2019. Since fall 2019 he is also serving as the Graduate Student Representative in the physics department. In the last few months, Bibandhan has been offered Ph.D. positions from several universities. He has accepted to join the University of Rochester which is a top-quality school in the fields of optics and physics.

Nominated by Dr. Imran Mirza


staron_bali2

Alexander Staron’s MS research demonstrates an observation of “stochastic resonance” in a cold atom nanoratchet, i.e., the coupling of random environmental noise into a nanodevice in order to, counter-intuitively, make the system perform more efficiently. He has given talks at premier international conferences – Frontiers in Optics / Laser Science and DAMOP (June 2020) – and an invited talk at a prestigious regional meeting – the Midwest Cold Atom Workshop. He has presented posters at DAMOP, the Southwest Quantum Information and Technology workshop, and the University of Arizona winter workshop. His work has yielded two first-author manuscripts, currently in preparation for submission to Optics Letters. After graduation, Alex will be joining the University of Colorado at Boulder for a PhD in experimental quantum optics and cold atom physics.

Nominated by Dr. Samir Bali

Outstanding AAPT Graduate Student Teacher

The Outstanding AAPT Graduate Student Teacher Award is presented to graduate students with outstanding promise as physics educators. The award will be based on quality of teaching as evidenced by evaluation of faculty member in charge, evaluations of students in the course (if applicable), and departmental participation.

And the award goes to...

jiang_kefengKefeng Jiang's confidence has been observed to increase when interacting with students in the Scale Up classroom and he revealed his effective approach to interacting with students. He is always willing to listen and understands where students are struggling and assists them in their learning. Kefeng is impressive with his clear and concise approach to teaching students.

Nominated by Instructor Carol Fabby


sethi_jet

Jet Sethi is extremely comfortable in the classroom and always willing to do what is necessary for student learning. He demonstrated these abilities on a day his instructor was out ill.  Jet's ability to smoothly run a large class (PhET simulation and problem solving) on that day, was realized through the students expressing how well he did at explaining information and allowing them to understand the material.

Nominated by Instructor Carol Fabby

Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher

The departmental Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award is presented to graduate students with outstanding promise as physics educators. The award criteria are quality of teaching as evidenced by evaluation of faculty member in charge, evaluations of students in the course (if applicable), and departmental participation.

And the award goes to...

agbo_sundaySunday Agbo is relaxed with the students often adding humor to his discussions. Sunday is always willing to sit down with students to ensure their conceptual understanding and how to complete calculations. This is particularly impressive as this class, of all the sections taught, asked the most questions.

Nominated by Instructor Carol Fabby


staron_alex

Alex Staron is always willing to assist students in achieving their learning goals. He always comes to class fully prepared to help students as needed. Students comfortably ask questions to Alex both during class and through email and they highly appreciate his help and guidance. He is always prompt in completing his grading assignments and he consistently gives valuable and meaningful feedback to the students.

Nominated by Dr. Mahmud Khan

Outstanding Senior

The Outstanding Senior Award is presented annually to a physics, engineering physics, or biological physics major graduating in the current academic year. Criteria for the award are academic achievement in physics and other courses, promise in science, contributions to physics at Miami University, character and personality, and activities.

And the award goes to...

kreider_maxMax Kreider is a triple major in physics, mathematics, and Spanish. Max has been involved in the Urayama lab since spring 2018 and was awarded the Undergraduate Research Award and Cancer Research Award (co-advised with Prof. Vishwanath) grants along with lab mate Andrew Rodriguez. He participated in the Undergraduate Summer Scholar’s program, was named a CAS Dean’s Scholar, and is completing a departmental honors thesis. He has made multiple conference presentations, attended the international SPIE Photonics West conference, and has a first-authored publication with additional manuscripts under review and in preparation. After graduating, Max will pursue a PhD in applied mathematics at Case Western Reserve University.

Nominated by Dr. Paul Urayama

Glenn & Betty Julian Student Teacher

The Glenn & Betty Julian Student Teacher Award is presented to one or two students in a formal assignment for teaching physics and undergraduates. Characteristics recognized include (but need not be restricted to), enthusiasm in presentation, success in guiding students to solve problems, creation of new teaching materials, and availability to students.

And the award goes to...

mckeauge-mcfadden_ikaikaIkaika McKeague-McFadden is a research student in the group of Prof. Jennifer Blue working on physics education research. He has been awarded the Julian Student Teaching Award due to his excellent performance as a teaching assistant in PHY 103 for three consecutive semesters. In particular, with PHY 103 lab moving to remote learning in the middle of spring semester 2020, Ikaika took the challenge and came up with novel ways to make the lab still engaging and an active learning experience for students. Also, in all three semesters, Ikaika offered additional help to the students both inside and outside his classes and suggested valuable changes to the course content. Students loved him as their TA and valued his explanations of the course material along with his helping nature.

Nominated by Dr. Imran Mirza


vincely_vinoin

Vinoin Vincely is an exemplary example for this award. He always shows great enthusiasm for teaching and presenting ideas, is an understanding and kind mentor as he guides students in problem solving exercises, and is always ready to provide assistance and feedback in creating and updating teaching materials. He strived to be available to students both inside and outside of office hours. Vinoin's instructor observed him take a leadership role with other TAs, ensuring they understood what was being asked of them, how to assist students, and in organizing and leading regular review sessions. Vinoin also provided his first-year instructor at Miami with endless support and assistance, always willing to help when there were issues or adjustments to be made in the classroom and during exams. These qualities sure make him a wonderful TA to have for a class, but one outstanding quality is his natural ability to defuse conflict situations using good-natured (mostly self-deprecating) humor - an absolutely wonderful skill to have! I believe Vinoin strongly represents the teacher-scholar model at the heart of Miami and is a well-deserved recipient of this teaching award. He has been accepted to Tulane University where he will be a graduate student for the Department of Biomedical Engineering.

Nominated by Instructor Carol Fabby

Undergraduate Student Representative

The Undergraduate Student Representative is a junior or senior physics, engineering physics, or biological physics major nominated by fellow physics undergraduates. The representative must attend, and be a voting member at department meetings and presents student perspectives on the issues being discussed.

The 2020-21 Undergraduate Student Representative is...

koleva_orionOrion Koleva is finishing his junior year at Miami and is pursuing degrees in both mathematics and physics and a minor in Spanish. Orion has been on the President's List every semester he has been enrolled at Miami. He was selected as an Undergraduate Summer Scholar for the summer of 2020 and planned to work with Dr. Blue - this will have to happen in the fall. Orion has acted as a Supplemental Instructor for Dr. Alexander's section of both Physics 191 and 192 during the last two years. He attends and helps out in every class, and he holds two supplemental sessions a week where students can go to get extra help solving problems. These sessions were in person until the middle of this semester when Orion smoothly transitioned them to be online. The students consistently give excellent reviews of his sessions. This year and next year, Orion is acting as the lead supplemental instructor and is responsible for training and guiding the new instructors. In addition, Orion has been a member of the Astronomy Club and is presently serving as its president. He has overseen several successful activities such as a camping trip to Hocking Hills and a visit to the planetarium at Trailside Nature Center in Burnett Woods. We are looking forward to having Orion in Kreger Hall for his senior year.

Nominated by Physics Major Undergraduates

Graduate Student Representative

The Graduate Student Representative is a current physics graduate student nominated by fellow graduate students. The representative must attend, and be a voting member at department meetings in addition to attending Graduate Student Association (GSA) meetings. They are the voice for the graduate class.

The 2020-21 Graduate Student Representative is...

dhakal_bibekBibek Dhakal earned his BS in Physics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He is finishing his first year at Miami and is currently a member of the Urayama lab, investigating the effects of high pressure mitochondrial function. He is an active member of the department, taking multiple classes each semester and working as a teaching assistant in PHY 671.

Nominated by Physics Graduate Students

Outstanding Faculty

The Outstanding Faculty Award recipient is chosen annually by the senior class physics majors. It has become tradition the senior class honor one faculty member who made a special impact on their education while attending Miami University.

And the award goes to...

bali_samirThe 2019-20 senior class recognizes Dr. Bali because he put in exceptional effort to make the best of a difficult situation as the instructor for two classes that did not format into remote learning very well. He did his best to make sure that while we couldn't do some things that were core to our class, we still had the opportunity to learn the most critical elements of both lab and lecture. We also appreciate that throughout the trying semester, he continued to remain positive and continued to show his passion for the subject he taught and for the education of his students. It is for these reasons we award Dr. Bali with the Outstanding Faculty Award for 2020.

Presented by 2019-20 Physics Senior Class


Congratulations to all the Department of Physics awardees!